Image Credit: Thomas Boon
London isn’t known for being cheap and it’s also not very well known by me, despite being the top place in the UK for travellers outside of the country to visit. Since I’d never pretend to be an expert (who, me?!) I’ve enlisted the help of some London-based friends of mine, to give us all a rundown of the cheapest and best places to wet your whistle in England’s capital city.
Be At One
This is a chain of cocktail bars across the country so you can always be pretty certain the prices aren’t extortionate. There are a few dotted across the capital including one in Soho, and one near Kings Cross Station, and all of them offer competitive happy hour deals. So if you’re looking for somewhere to dress up and go out to without breaking the bank, you could do much worse than here.
Another chain that does great cocktails at reasonable prices. You’ll find Simmons in Camden, Soho, Tower Bridge, Liverpool Street, by Kings Cross, and many more places besides. Their happy hour lasts until 9:30pm as well, so you don’t have to go out ridiculously early to take advantage of the cheaper deals.
If you’re looking for something that little bit more unusual Bloomsbury Lanes in Euston is that most unlikely of triads: bowling, dancing, and drinks. Yes, you read that right – welcome to a London bowling lane with a bar, music room, and themed events ranging from The Beatles and Bowling, to Hip Hop & Bowl, to The 80s vs. The 90s. It probably has to be seen to be fully understood.
This understated pub on Bermondsey street is a busy but reasonably priced place for a drink with a great outdoor seating area. The drinks and food are varied and, more importantly, don’t feel as though they’re set at London prices. The Woolpack is a popular one for drinks after work and, from what I could gather, hangover lunches at the weekend as well!
The Bree Louise
This is a great pub that also does good food. A friend in London tells me it’s the best ale pub in the capital for the price, although you’d probably have to find that out for yourselves. It does, however, offer student discounts on real ale and has a host of fresh casks that are regularly changed. Incidentally, it’s won a few CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) awards, so you don’t just have to take my mate’s word for it. Probably for the best, really!
The Big Chill
This is an excellent little find only a two-minute walk from Kings Cross. It also has a roof terrace, so if sitting out in the open with a drink was on your checklist for a London visit then you can tick it off here. The drinks prices won’t leave you scrimping for the rest of the trip, either, and with a limited menu but good quality food it’s well worth a visit.
The Faltering Fullback
No list would be complete without an Irish pub so here’s one for you now. This hidden gem just behind Finsbury Park has an incredible garden and excellent pints. They show all manner of sports, run a popular pub quiz, and have a live acoustic music session from 9:00pm on Sunday nights.
Ok, it’s a chain, but nothing quite captures the English drinking and money saving spirit quite like a Wetherspoons. They’re everywhere – although the one in Trafalgar Square is arguably the most frequented, and I’m reliably informed that The Mossy Well by Alexandra Palace is the ‘fanciest Spoons on the planet’. So if you want your drinks with culture and cost-cutting the 21st century British way, pick one and dive in. Just don’t blame me for what happens next.
Where are your favourite places to drink in London? Let me know in the comments!